Colon Cancer Tied to your Gut Reaction
A medical doctor at the University of Pittsburgh has compiled evidence confirming that what people eat provides the link between diet and colon cancer.
That’s because diet has a direct effect on the diversity of microbes in the gut, Dr. Stephen O’Keefe’s research indicates.
That may not surprise most people. After all, the typical Western diet, rich in meats and fats and low in fruits, vegetables and complex carbohydrates, has been recognized for years as a risk factor for colon cancer.
Healthy diets with an abundance of complex carbohydrates provide the gut with significant numbers of micro-organisms called firmicutes. Those organisms use starches and proteins to manufacture short-chain fatty acids and vitamins such as folate and biotin to maintain a healthy colon.
But the microbes in the gut also produce toxic products from food residues. Diets heavy in meats produce sulfur, which decreases the actions of “good” bacteria and increases the production of other possible carcinogens.
“Colon cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in adults in Westernized communities,” O’Keefe said. “Our results suggest that a diet that maintains the health of the colon wall is also one that maintains general body health and reduces heart disease.
“A diet rich in fiber and resistant starch encourages the growth of good bacteria and increases production of short-chain fatty acids, which lessen the risk of cancer, while a high meat and fat diet reduces the numbers of these good bacteria,” he said.
Colons host more than 800 bacterial species and 7,000 different strains that could be key to treating diseases, he said.
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